FROM THE EDITOR
When you look back at the partners in your life, how do you feel? Do you look back with anger? Regret? Sadness? Or have the tides of time worn away even the sharpest edges from some of your most complicated relationships? I ask this because this month I sat down with our cover star, Caroline Flack, as she performed a live autopsy on the past loves of her life. It was an experience that was revealing, not because of the intimacy with which she talked about them (though that too, as celebrities rarely speak freely about anything – and certainly not love), but rather because of the generosity with which she spoke about each man. Some people say you should never look back – certainly not on the things that went wrong. But I believe you can’t move forward until you’re prepared to look back – even on the trickiest of situations. And love, as we all know, can be very tricky. I remember the boy whose heart I broke at 17, but who subsequently went on to break my own heart over and over again, until at last I upped sticks and moved 200 miles away, just so it felt like I could breathe again. I remember also the older man who played my emotions like a Stradivarius violin and whose footprints I was sure would stay on my soul forever (they didn’t). And then there were all the flings that never called back, the lovely, kind men I tormented (I’m sorry) and the ones who would probably have made pretty good partners had I the foresight to judge them by their virtues rather than by their shoes. But that’s the thing about relationships, particularly when you’re younger: it’s hard to excavate the sense from them until they’re over. Instead we experience only the in-the-moment profligate joys and wounding heartbreak. And then we move on, boxing them up like parcels to be sent away to the land of ‘Lost loves and other things I don’t want to ever speak of again.’ And yet some of our greatest personal learning can come through examining the men and women we have loved and lost in our lives. I look back on every one of my relationships now with a sort of wistful happiness. With the romance and pain wrung out of them, each one now offers a revealing rear-view mirror into who I once was. (The answer: a born writer whose relationships mainly failed not because of who those men were, but because of the fantasies I projected onto them of who I wanted to believe they were.) So here’s my advice to you: look back. Because when the pain and the sadness lifts (and it mostly always does), there are new joys and jewels to be found.
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